It may actually be helping quarterback Case Keenum's unlikely candidacy for the Heisman Trophy.
Keenum has needed more than 500 yards passing in each of the last two games to lead the 13th-ranked Cougars to last-second victories, and he'll try for another prolific performance as
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL have made
The Cougars' success has been especially impressive considering they rank 115th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total defense, allowing 469.8 yards and more than 30 points per game.
But the defensive problems for
"Our team believes in him," coach Kevin Sumlin said. "Offensively, defensively, everybody does, that no matter what the score is, we're never out of the game."
It required a dramatic comeback for the Cougars to notch their fifth straight victory last Saturday after they trailed by eight at
Keenum was sacked on the potential game-tying 2-point conversion attempt after finding James Cleveland for a touchdown with 21 seconds left, but
The quarterback finished 40 for 60 for 522 yards and three touchdowns in the 46-45 win, one week after he was 44 of 54 for 559 yards and five TDs in a 50-43 victory over Southern Miss. He threw for the winning score in that game with 21 seconds remaining.
"I don't know what the Heisman voters are thinking," Keenum said. "My goal right now is to beat UCF. My goal is not to win the Heisman or break records. Any individual award is a team award. If you're not being successful and winning games, those team accolades are not going to come your way."
Keenum is trying to lead the Cougars back to the conference title game for the first time since they won it in 2006 behind another standout quarterback, current Philadelphia Eagles backup Kevin Kolb.
UCF (5-4, 3-2) appears to be
After Longhorns star Colt McCoy threw for 470 yards, UCF will almost certainly have to improve its defense against Keenum. This will be the first time the Knights have seen him - the teams haven't met since Oct. 28, 2006, when Kolb led
"Our defense is going to have to work hard," coach George O'Leary said. "It is not going to be the plays as much as it is the conditioning.
The Knights have also been hampered by injuries lately. Quarterback Brett Hodges and running back Brynn Harvey both missed the game against
Rob Calabrese started at quarterback, going 10 of 19 for 76 yards and getting sacked six times.
O'Leary called Hodges a "game-time decision," but said he's hoping his offense won't have to get involved in a shootout.
"I think the key with (
The Knights' biggest strength may be its pass rush, with ends Jarvis Geathers and Bruce Miller each having nine sacks.
Posted: 11/10/09 8:31PM ET